During my last pregnancy, I read and reread the book of 1 Samuel. I always held onto the story of Hannah for obvious reasons. She wanted a child so badly, and God heard her prayers and answered them. 1 Samuel 1:20 says, “So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”
Through each pregnancy, I reread Hannah’s story. Reading the Bible, actually studying the Bible, has been such a huge impact on my life. I know there are some Christians who believe in God but don’t read the Word of God, and I feel sad about that because they are truly missing out on so much. There is so much to learn about who God is in the Bible and what Christ did for us, but I think the real loss is that people miss out on experiencing the living Word of God. It really is living because the Holy Spirit brings something new each time you read. I have experienced reading the same scripture or passage time and time again, and recognizing something new each time. It’s not as if the words or story changed, but it feels like God points out exactly what I need to hear from the story right when I need it. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26. Even when I thought what I needed most was Hannah’s answered prayers, God revealed to me something I needed to see more about her story.
During my first miscarriage, Hannah’s story gave me hope. I knew that God was listening to my prayers, and I prayed that one day He would answer mine too. After the second miscarriage, a different part of the scripture jumped out at me. Again looking at 1 Samuel 1:20, I realized Hannah’s prayers were answered, “in the course of time”. I realized this did not happen over night. Honestly, I have not looked a lot into this timeline, but it was comforting to step back and see that I needed to be patient. Even Hannah had to wait. God heard her prayers, but she still needed to be patient. Even now thinking about who Samuel became, if he was born earlier or later then none of the other pieces would fit into place. Samuel needed to born at exactly the right time so that he could meet Saul, Saul could meet David, David could become a ruler, and so on. It is amazing how God’s plans are so intricately tied together. I am sure that Hannah would have loved for her son to born earlier or her prayers to be answered sooner. I am sure she couldn’t possibly realize the greatness God would do through her son if she would wait. I am sure she was thinking what many woman think, “I am getting older and my timeline to have kids is getting smaller.” But how humbling is it to step back and see God’s bigger picture. Yes, I want kids now. But no, I would never wish to go against God’s will. Who am I to think I know better than God about when my kids should be born? Maybe God has amazing plans for them, and I just need to be patient. Maybe I won’t ever see the reasons for this, but my kids will. I have no idea why I am asked to wait right now, but reading Samuel’s story gives me great trust in God. It brings me comfort and confidence in the waiting. That was what the Holy Spirit revealed to me during the second miscarriage.
Then during this last miscarriage, I reread 1 Samuel again, and the Holy Spirit did not disappoint. When my HCG levels were dropping, I was desperately praying for God’s miracles. I was focusing all my attention, again, on Hannah’s answered prayers. And again, God showed my a different scripture. Right before Hannah’s prayers are answered, there is a moment where Hannah’s husband speaks up. 1 Samuel 1:8, “Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” I was pretty surprised that I had never noticed this part of the story. In all of my praying, in all of my sadness, I had forgotten that there were two people in this story. Even more, I realized the hurt Hannah’s husband must have felt. Hannah was desperate for a child. She was praying everyday, and her heart was broken. But what about her husband? Wasn’t he enough? Isn’t it a blessing that God gave her a husband, someone to spend the rest of her life with? Someone to love through it all? I put myself in his shoes and feel crushed. Imagine if I did my best to make my husband happy, and he wanted nothing to do with me? I just wasn’t enough to make him truly joyful. Imagine if he was completely crushed and bitter towards me everyday. I don’t believe that is how God wanted marriage to be. It wasn’t Elkanah’s fault after all. God closed Hannah’s womb. But she woke up everyday in sadness it seems, and there was nothing he could do for her. He would never be enough.
This scripture floored me, and in an odd way, brought me light. It reminded me that #1- This is not my story; It is our story. There are two people going through these miscarriages, and it is no ones fault. We both want kids. We are both sad. And I really need to stop saying words like “my” and “I”.
#2- Yes, I am sad. Yes, I want kids. But I also know that my husband is enough. God blessed me with that most amazing husband. I feel lucky everyday that God brought us together. Even if we never have kids, even if it is not in God’s plan for us to have kids, I will spend the rest of my life with a wonderful man. I do not want our lives to be bitter or mournful. I never want to make him feel less than. I will always be full of joy just being with my husband.
Again, God revealed exactly what I needed to hear. This life is not easy and no one ever said it would be, but God had blessed my husband and I abundantly. He is constantly overfilling our cup so that we can pour into others. We want kids, and this journey is scary sometimes, but scripture reminded me once again that this life isn’t about me.